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Twin Angel: Twinkle Paradise PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 18 October 2011 00:00

Twin Angel: Twinkle Paradise

I've said it before, but it's worth repeating just for this review: I have a weakness for magical girls, and I will forgive many things in mahou shoujo that would otherwise have me decrying the show as utter crap. Twin Angel: Twinkle Paradise comes with a reputation for being the worst show of its season, but, hey: magical girls!!

Not even thieves of high-grade vegetables are safe from magical girl duo, the Twin Angels. Aoi and Haruka are middle-school girls by day, attending the prestigious St Cherine Academy and going what normal girls do; but when the need arises, it's into the frilly outfits and off they go to fight evil, aided by their school principal and Aoi's butler. When a prized tiara, one of the Seven Amulets, is stolen, it's up to the girls to retrieve it - but lead villain Salome isn't going to give it back without a fight...

So goes my summary for the first episode. But wait!! Salome isn't the lead villain (and doesn't appear again until near the end of the series, where she's out for revenge for being sidelined), while Aoi and Haruka are soon joined by fellow Twin Angel, Kurumi. That's right, there are three members of Twin Angel. Don't question the dodgy maths, just accept it. The girls spend the first half of the series defeating low-grade villains before the eventual appearance of Tesla and Nine, sdoptive daughters of real lead villain Dark Trader, who has raised them to do his evil bidding. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Tesla and Nine have been led to believe that Twin Angel were responsible for the deaths of the real parents, so insert grudge here.

That's really all you need to go on. This is one of those magical girl shows that's been made more with adult males in mind, so there's a level of constant fanservice (mostly involving Aoi's ample chest) that's a little Hmmmm.... and some suitably twinkly, rainbowy, flowery effects in the animation. I have to say that it looks pretty good, all things considered. From there, though, I should really be putting the boot in.

The characters are right out of the Big Book of Anime Tropes, as are most aspects of the storyline. The fanservice is borderline inappropriate, given the apparent ages of the lead characters. Motivations for most things are tissue-thin and barely believable, while the ultimate aim - gather 7 magical artefacts - has only been done already by every mahou shoujo show ever. There's nothing here that's original, nothing that should really make me want to watch it, and nothing of really redeeming value. Nul points, toss it in the bin. So ran the verdict from pretty much everyone who saw the first episode or two at the start of the summer season.

You know there's a "But yet...." coming.

Wait for it...

But yet, I found myself enjoying it, despite its many and well-documented flaws. I like the way the girls played off each other, I like the antics of their classmates. Tesla and Nine, probably the most believable characters here (and the only ones with any real intelligence), add a lot to the latter part of the series. The antics of the girls' teacher and reluctant villain Saijou-sensei made me laugh. Little touches like Kurumi's sudden shyness when her transformation scene does its clothes change thing were nice to see. Whether it actually gets better as it goes, or whether my IQ dropped a few points from the effects of watching it, I'm not sure, but I did enjoy it more as it went on, leading to the ultimate conclusion that: hey, folks, this isn't really that bad.

Of course, "It's not that bad" is still a long way from being a whole-hearted recommendation - all the people who have Twin Angels a kicking on its first airing did so for fair reasons. But it's not entirely without value. If you've no interest in magical girl shows, it's easy: don't bother. If you do, then getting through the first few episodes and letting it get into its stride is still a struggle. But come the end of the run, I didn't feel that I'd wasted my time - I'd gotten enough enjoyment out of it to make it worthwhile, you just have to let the series get to it. Which makes me possibly the only person in the world to say: if you enjoy magical girls, give it a try. You might be surprised.

Rating - ***